Back on 12/7/2010, I posted an entry about redundancies, and suggested that writers should be careful to check their work to avoid petty redundancies that detract from the message of the work. Here’s a few more. Some of these are well-known phrases which have redundancies built into them, some are statements I found in other’s works, and some I wrote myself. (The first two were taken from news reports about the shootings on 1/8/2011 in Tucson. They’re very common in news reports on incidents like that.)
“Senseless act of violence” All acts of violence are senseless, so the word “senseless” is redundant.
“Wrong place at the wrong time” This is a redundancy because the word “wrong” is redundant. You can’t be at the wrong place at the wrong time. You’re either at the wrong place at the right time, or the right place at the wrong time. An even better use of the phrase would be to throw it out and never use it at all.
“All-time record” If you hold the record, it is by definition “for all time.” Until someone else breaks it.
“Remove all metal objects out of your pockets” To remove is to take them out anyway.
“Throughout the course of the week” Any thing that takes place over the course of a week happens throughout the week.
“Only one issue left to go” Oddly, this comes from a well-respected magazine on writing. My subscription had only one issue left. The “to go” part is redundant. (I’ve already renewed, if you’re wondering.)
“Reserved for the exclusive use of …” I saw this on a sign reserving an area for construction equipment. “Reserved” and “exclusive use of” mean the same thing.
“Small pebbles” I’ve written that. So have many others. But pebbles are by definition “small.” Small rocks, if you will.
“Tears poured from her eyes” Tears come only from the eyes. A better way to put it might be, “Tears poured down her cheeks.”
“Brushing up against the tree” Better to remove the word “up.” If you brush against a tree, you brush up against it.
By the way, did you notice I started this post with a redundancy? “Back on 12/7/2010” contains the redundant word “back.” Should be, “On 12/7/2010.” They sneak in like kids in a cookie jar.